A personalised skills assessment is to be made available in prisons and in the community to identify offenders who will benefit from a programme of employment-focused learning and skills training to reduce re-offending.
Under a new system – the ‘campus’ model – selected offenders will receive tailored information, advice and guidance and be offered a range of skills training after completion of their assessment.
Training could include literacy, numeracy, language and key skills, employer-led vocational skills, enterprise and self-employment training, work trials, work experience and voluntary work with skills training.
Two test bed regions, East of England and West Midlands, will take forward the initiative that will include:
- stronger links with employers
- closer working with voluntary and faith communities
- engaging employers sector by sector
- meeting regional skills shortages and recruitment difficulties by linking offender learning with local and city employment strategy needs
Announcing the test bed regions, Skills Minister Phil Hope said:
"Helping offenders develop skills and secure better jobs is central to the Government’s aim of reducing re-offending.
"There is a "sea change" underway in the learning and skills on offer to offenders. Testing these innovative ideas to improve learning by offenders will significantly contribute towards improving skills and employment, and reducing re-offending, as outlined in our ambitious Next Steps document last year.
"The test beds will build on the successes already achieved by the Offender Learning and Skills Service (OLASS) whose work has overseen a significant increase in the education participation rate amongst offenders.
"An external evaluator has been appointed to ensure that we get the best out of the work of the test beds, making sure that good practice and lessons learned are shared with stakeholder bodies involved in delivering offender learning and skills.
"An innovation fund will be set up jointly between the Department for Education and Skills and the Ministry of Justice to ensure that ideas put forward by regions not allocated test bed status are also trialled.
"This decision marks the culmination of the Next Steps design process. It’s now time to look forward to the next stage – putting ideas into action – and to make the vision of Next Steps a reality."
Source: DfES press release